Here is another pregnancy symptom to get you all gloomy and gasping for breath. As if other symptoms are not enough to stress your often hormone battered system, constipation can be a a source of frustration during pregnancy. You will be happy to know however that the problem will ease after the birth of your baby and there are simple things you can do to ease the discomforts.
Constipation and how it affects you
Constipation occurs in about half of all pregnant mothers at some time or another during their pregnancy. The condition occurs when bowel movements become difficult or are infrequent and your body does not get rid of waste stool so easily. Constipation can be frustrating and a mom will visit the bathroom many times in the hope to have a bowel movement. You will not forget those moments when you may have sat on the toilet for hours without able to pass your stool.
In an instance you have a bowel movement but it does not last to give you the desire to go out. Some persons will develop the fear that it will never happen. Unwanted waste inside of you will make you feel bloated and stuffed all day long, especially after a meal. Constantly having to push and strain to pass stool often cause tear in the muscles of your anus giving rise to other medical problems such as painful hemorrhoids or pile, and rectal bleeding. These only intensify the problem since now you won’t want to let anything pass for fear of the pain.
Causes of constipation
When a woman is pregnant, the hormone progesterone causes a lot of changes to take place in her body. The hormone causes the muscles of the organs to relax, slowing down the actions of the digestive tract. When this happens food moves through the intestines rather slowly, increasing the absorption of water and making the substances dry and hard. This makes going to the bathroom difficult and the reason to drink plenty of water. Constipation can also occur from iron supplements that your doctor has prescribed to prevent anemia. This, in addition to lack of exercise, worry and anxiety and a low fiber diet can all contribute to an unresponsive digestive tract.
How you can prevent and treat constipation
In every difficulty presented, there is always a way to heal yourself or to get some relief. There are several ways that mothers are treating themselves when they get constipation along with the help of their doctors.
Eat lots of fiber-rich foods. Fruits and vegetables provide a rich source of fiber. Many of them are eaten in the raw state or half cooked. Eat apples and plum with the skin on. Also, exchange refined and processed foods such as white bread, flour and rice with those made from bran and whole grain. Choose whole grain cereals and beans to help pass the food along in your gut. A couple tablespoons of unprocessed wheat bran in your cereal in the mornings eaten with a glass of water can work wonders.
Drink plenty of liquids. If you have not been one to heed the recommendation to drink lots of water for your health, now is the time to seek out its benefits. Apart from creating the motion to push food along in the digestive tract, water breaks up food into soluble substances making them easier to pass through the intestines. Furthermore, liquid will be needed as you increase the amount of fiber you eat. The combination of both will help you eliminate waste.
Have an exercise routine. In or out of pregnancy, there is no doubt in the benefits of exercise to the body. Exercise can actually stimulate bowel movements. Develop a routine to go walking in the mornings or evenings. You can do some light exercises such as walking, swimming or yoga that will not put too much pressure on you or your baby. A 20 to 30 minute walk per day can help relieve constipation.
Reduce iron supplements. It is ironic that some supplements prescribed to help your pregnancy can also increase your discomforts. Some iron supplements can cause your stool to harden and make constipation worse. If you find that this is happening, speak to your doctor who may reduce the amount of dosage or change the type originally prescribed for you. In fact, you can complement supplements with iron rich foods such as eggs, beef and poultry meats, and cooked oysters. You can find large amounts of iron in green leafy vegetables like collard, chard, kale, spinach, broccoli and green beans. Fruits like strawberry, raisins, and peaches are highly recommended also. To top these all, have a go with iron-fortified cereals. They are good for you.
Make time for the bathroom. Always be ready to go to the toilet. Do not put off going to the bathroom when you feel a bowel movement coming on. You will feel the urge to go especially after you have your meal. Be able to access a bathroom.
Go for herbal remedies. The leaves of dandelion and mallow steeped in hot water have very positive effects on easing constipation. Senna is a traditional herbal tea which is safe if taken in small amounts and for short periods. This should be taken also under the supervision of your midwife or doctor. Senna is best not taken in the third trimester for fear it may activate the womb and cause pre-term labor or the very powerful Braxton Hicks.
Use what some mothers recommend. A glass of warm water with lemon juice squeezed in and taken each morning is a good way to stimulate the bowels. You could also add a tablespoon of Psyllium husks to water or herbal tea. On the other hand you could stew some apricots or prunes in some water, then mash and eat them. If all that is too much, buy prune juice instead. These foods are always a savior in constipation troubles. They are also safe to take with your baby. Some mothers take Colace for extra help.
Try alternative methods. You probably could be adventurous and try non-traditional methods like acupuncture or acupressure. These are therapies that use certain pressure points in your body to improve your health. For example, an acupuncture or acupressure point for digestion can be found just below your navel in your tummy. If you gently press that point 20 to 30 times for a couple of times in a day, you’ll probably get some relief from your constipation. You can get an expert therapist in antenatal care instead to do this for you. Add a few drops of essential oils – orange, lime lemon or bergamot to a warm bath and soak in it. As you do so, gently massage your tummy. Do this only if you are not prone to premature labor.
What to avoid
Forget colonic irrigation or any form of cleanse at this time. This can affect the normal ph of your large intestines and also disrupt the bacterial content which is so important to act on foods. Do not consider using a laxative also. It can cause serious complications and you may never know when an upheaval may contribute to pre-term labor or a miscarriage.